ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS, India –
In a historical event, a U.S. Navy aircraft refueled for the first time at India’s strategic base in Andaman and Nicobar Islands late September.
The P-8 Poseidon refueled using a fuel agreement between Defense Logistics Agency Energy and the Indian Ministry of Defense. The agreement facilitates fuel support for U.S. and foreign militaries during joint training, deployments, exercises or other operations.
“Until now, fuel had only been exchanged with Indian Navy and Air Force resources,” said Mike Holgate, DLA Energy International Fuel Agreements division chief. “This refueling mission reflects the increasing strategic importance of the U.S.-India relationship. The U.S. Naval and Air Attachés in India worked hard to ensure the refuel was seamless. We hope in the future additional U.S. aircraft and ships can refuel from India using the fuel order.”
Under a 2016 Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement between the U.S. Defense Department and Indian MOD, DLA Energy signed an LEMOA Order to allow sales or purchases of fuel between the U.S. and India for a 12 month period from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020.
“We are negotiating a long term LEMOA Implementing Arrangement now,” Holgate said. “Until it is signed, we will continue to renew the order to keep the authority in place and the fuel flowing.”
The countries routinely participate in joint exercises to enhance operational coordination. The LEMOA provides the authority for the U.S. and India to exchange logistics support, supplies, and services like fuel.
“At the end of the LEMOA order period, we will tally up all the sales and purchases, have both participants sign it, and then enter it into a system called AGATRS, or ACSA Global Asset Tracking & Reporting System,” Holgate said. “DLA Finance-Energy will generate a bill package to Defense Finance and Accounting Service, who in turn invoices the Indian MOD.”
DLA Energy’s International Fuel Agreements team is responsible for establishing and maintaining long-term DOD fuel agreements with foreign militaries. Synchronized with DLA Energy regional offices, the IFA team focuses on providing a global capability to meet future fuel requirements.
To date, DLA Energy has 38 fuel agreements across the world with countries including Honduras, India, Japan, Korea, Spain, Italy, Greece, Argentina, Chile, Indonesia and New Zealand. The IFA team is continually working to expand the area of the world with these partnerships in place.